(WSVN) - Driving in the rain comes with the territory of living in Florida. But what many motorists don’t know is that it is actually illegal to drive with your hazard lights flashing, whether it is raining or not.
State law says that flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except to use turn signals, or to indicate the car is stopped or disabled on the highway.
Despite signs on South Florida highways bearing the warning “lights on, hazards off” when it’s raining, many drivers can still be spotted on the road using their hazards when visibility is low.
“They may think they’re doing everybody a favor, but in reality they’re creating confusion,” Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky told the Palm Beach Post. “People may think you’re stopped in the roadway.”
FHP says hazards should only be used while the car is stopped. Using hazard lights while driving can actually reduce visibility, making other drivers think you are stopped or stalled on the road.
Miami Beach Police spokesman Ernesto Rodriguez echoed FHP’s statement, telling 7 News, “We continue to remind drivers across South Florida that when you are driving in wet conditions, to use their headlights and to not utilize their hazards. It’s actually prohibited by state law.”
Sgt. Steve Gaskins from FHP told WTSP that if you do have them on while driving in a storm, you could be found at fault if you are in a crash.
“I don’t know if you’re changing lanes (with hazards on). I don’t know which lane you’re in, possibly,” Gaskins explained to the station. “I don’t know what the issue is.”
Drivers who break the law could receive a hefty citation if an officer catches them driving with their lights flashing. The Sun-Sentinel reports motorists are subject to a ticket costing $115.
The only situation where drivers are allowed to use hazards while the car is in motion is when the vehicle is part of a funeral procession.
If visibility is reduced to the point where you cannot see, it is recommended to pull over to a safe location until weather clears.